Rain, Rain, lovely Rain!
It's raining, so what to do? It's a downpour, heavy raindrops hit the window and roof. Such a lulling sound. Time seems to stand still. Then I begin to think about the past.
It wasn't a rainy day when I boarded the plane in Nashville, Tennessee to fly to San Antonio, Texas. Rather, it was a November day, the sun was shining, the air had a cool crisp feel, not cold, just the in between time as it moved from fall to winter. A southern fall day. I had never flown on a plane before, but I was young, adventurous and with a group of young people my age headed to the same place, I felt no fear. It was exciting! Of course it didn't hurt that I was the only female in the group. But wouldn't you know, they'd seat me beside an older woman traveling to San Antonio to meet her husband. It didn't matter, I had started on my life. As I look back, I realize the novelty of seeing and experiencing situations for the first time. Such as sitting on a plane, talking with complete strangers from other parts of America. I loved asking questions and learning about the person. It's something I still love to do, learn about who a person is and how they came to be moving to or from, how they met their spouse. That's one thing I enjoy when I travel by air, people watching.
I can't tell you how long the flight was, though I do know that it was daylight when we left and it was nighttime when we arrived. I know that we had a meal on the plane, though I couldn't tell you what the food was. I know I could look out the window and see clouds that made me think of snow. It appeared as though I could step out of the plane and land in a snowdrift, for I couldn't see anything below the clouds. It seemed as though we were flying on top of the world.
While it was exciting on the airplane, the minute we stepped off the plane we stopped being freebie civilians and started the journey of keeping quiet, following orders and becoming part of a pack. We stepped off the plane talking, laughing and excited, when we entered the airport we were met by a uniformed dressed man who said he was our Sargent. He told us to "shutup and lineup. Don't ask questions, don't speak unless spoken too."
It was dark as we, in single file, marched, the best we could anyway, to the bus waiting outside. We didn't say a word the whole trip from the airport to the base. The adrenaline dissipated quickly, we were exhausted. Once we arrived at the barracks, we were lead to a room that was called the "dayroom", we were given a blanket, pillow and were allowed to bring the small suitcase that had our pajamas and toiletries. All the other suitcases stayed in the dayroom. Once we were assigned our group, a female in uniform for the women and a male dressed in uniform for the men led us to our barracks. We were allowed to make our beds and brush our teeth. It seemed we were given a very short time to carry this out before we were told lights out.
I lay there listening to the sounds and wondering about my roommate. I don't remember her name or even what she looked like. It was ten o'clock at night when I drifted off to sleep.
It seemed that I had just closed my eyes when I was jerked awake by this blaring bugle and someone knocking on the door telling me I had ten minutes to get dressed and make my bed, then meet outside. It was still dark for Pete's sake! I jumped up, and ran to the restroom, brushing me teeth and meeting other girls doing the same thing. This was a new experience, a room full of strangers, all girls, but strangers. We all rushed back to make our beds, grab the clothes we had on the night before and make a mad dash out the door. It was cold! I wasn't prepared for the coldness. I was dressed for southern weather. One thing was for sure, I was awake!